| Among the Meadow People|
|by Clara Dillingham Pierson|
|Delightful stories of field life for young children, relating incidents in the lives of birds, insects, and other small creatures who make the meadow their home. Each chapter features the story of one animal in its daily activities and interactions with the other animals inhabiting the meadow. Ages 5-7 |
THE GRASSHOPPER WHO WOULD N'T BE SCARED
 THERE were more Ants in the meadow than there were of any
other kind of insects. In their family there were not only
Ants, but great-aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces, until
it made one sleepy to think how many relatives each Ant had.
Yet they were small people and never noisy, so perhaps the
Grasshoppers seemed to be the largest family there.
There were many different families of Grasshoppers, but they
were all related. Some had short horns, or feelers, and red
legs; and some had long horns. Some lived in the lower part
of the meadow where it was damp, and some in the upper
The Katydids, who really belong to this family, you know,
stayed in trees and did not often sing in the daytime. Then
there were the great Road Grasshoppers who lived only in
places where the ground was bare and dusty, and whom you
could hardly see unless they were flying. When they lay in
the dust their wide wings were hidden and they showed only
that part of their bodies which was dust-color. Let the
farmer drive along, however, and they rose into the air with
a gentle, whirring sound and fluttered to a safe place. Then
one could see them plainly, for their large under wings were
black with yellow edges.
Perhaps those Grasshoppers who were best known in the meadow
were the Clouded Grasshoppers, large dirty-brown ones with
dark spots, who seemed to be everywhere during the autumn.
The fathers and brothers in this family always crackled
their wings loudly when they
 flew anywhere, so one could
never forget that they were around.
It was queer that they were always spoken of as
Grasshoppers. Their great-great-great-grandparents were
called Locusts, and that was the family name, but the
Cicadas liked that name and wanted it for themselves, and
made such a fuss about it that people began to call them
Seventeen-Year-Locusts; and then because they had to call
the real Locusts something else, they called them
Grasshoppers. The Grasshoppers didn't mind this. They were
jolly and noisy, and as they grew older were sometimes very
pompous. And you know what it is to be pompous.
When the farmer was drawing the last loads of hay to his
barn and putting them away in the great mows there, three
young clouded Grasshopper brothers were frolicking near the
wagon. They had tried to see who could run the fastest,
 crackle the loudest, spring the highest, flutter the
farthest, and eat the most. There seemed to be nothing more
to do. They couldn't eat another mouthful, the other fellows
wouldn't play with them,
they wouldn't play with their
sisters, and they were not having any fun at all.
They were sitting on a hay-cock, watching the wagon as it
came nearer and nearer. The farmer was on top and one of his
men was walking beside it. Whenever they came to a hay-cock
the farmer would stop the Horses, the man would run a
long-handled, shining pitch-fork into the hay on the ground
and throw it up to the farmer. Then it would be trampled
down on to the load, the farmer's wife would rake up the
scattering hay which was left on the ground, and that would
be thrown up also.
The biggest Clouded Grasshopper said to his brothers, "You
dare not sit still while they put this hay on the load!"
 The smallest Clouded Grasshopper said, "I do too!"
The second brother said, "Huh! Guess I dare do anything you
do!" He said it in a rather mean way, and that may have been
because he had eaten too much. Overeating will make any
Now every one of them was afraid, but each waited for the
others to back out. While they were waiting, the wagon
stopped beside them, the shining fork was run into the hay,
and they were shaken and stood on their heads and lifted
through the air on to the wagon. There they found themselves
all tangled up with hay in the middle of the load. It was
dark and they could hardly breathe. There were a few stems
of nettles in the hay, and they had to crawl away from them.
It was no fun at all, and they didn't talk very much.
When the wagon reached the barn, they were pitched into the
mow with the
 hay, and then they hopped and fluttered around
until they were on the floor over the Horses' stalls. They
sat together on the floor and wondered how they could ever
get back to the meadow. Because they had come in the middle
of the load, they did not know the way.
"Oh!" said they. "Who are those four-legged people over
"Kittens!" sang a Swallow over their heads. "Oh,
The Clouded Grasshoppers had never seen Kittens. It is true
that the old Cat often went hunting in the meadow, but that
was at night, when Grasshoppers were asleep.
"Meouw!" said the Yellow Kitten. "Look at those queer little
brown people on the floor. Let's each catch one."
So the Kittens began crawling slowly over the floor, keeping
their bodies and tails low, and taking very short steps. Not
one of them took his eyes off the
 Clouded Grasshopper whom
he meant to catch. Sometimes they stopped and crouched and
watched, then they went on, nearer, nearer, nearer, still,
while the Clouded Grasshoppers were more and more scared and
wished they had never left the meadow where they had been so
safe and happy.
At last the Kittens jumped, coming down with their sharp
little claws just where the Clouded Grasshoppers—had been.
The Clouded Grasshoppers had jumped too, but they could not
stay long in the air, and when they came down the Kittens
jumped again. So it went until the poor Clouded Grasshoppers
were very, very tired and could not jump half so far as they
had done at first. Sometimes the Kittens even tried to catch
them while they were fluttering, and each time they came a
little nearer than before. They were so tired that they
never thought of leaping up on the wall of the barn where the
Kittens couldn't reach them.
 At last the smallest Clouded Grasshopper called to his
brothers, "Let us chase the Kittens."
The brothers answered, "They're too big."
The smallest Clouded Grasshopper, who had always been the
brightest one in the family, called back, "We may scare them
if they are big."
Then all the Clouded Grasshoppers leaped toward the Kittens
and crackled their wings and looked very, very fierce. And
the Kittens ran away as fast as they could. They were in
such a hurry to get away that the Yellow Kitten tumbled over
the White Kitten and they rolled on the floor in a furry
little heap. The Clouded Grasshoppers leaped again, and the
Kittens scrambled away to their nest in the hay, and stood
against the wall and raised their backs and their pointed
little tails, and opened their pink mouths and spat at them,
and said, "Ha-ah-h-h!"
 "There!" said the smallest Clouded Grasshopper to them, "we
won't do anything to you this time, because you are young
and don't know very much, but don't you ever bother one of
us again. We might have hopped right on to you, and then
what could you have done to help yourselves?"
The Clouded Grasshoppers started off to find their way back
to the meadow, and the frightened Kittens looked at each
other and whispered: "Just supposing they had hopped on to
us! What could we have done!"
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